The recent news of hedge fund-billionaire Paul Singer picking Marco Rubio as his candidate for President might start a sorely needed dialogue long ignored within the GOP establishment. Along with Singer’s other favored choice, Jeb Bush, the New York Times tells us that Rubio reflects the Jewish billionaire’s top issues: open-borders and support for Israel. According to the Times, these are also the biggest issues for major GOP-funder Sheldon Adelson. But are these positions actually compatible? Have people like Singer and Adelson really considered just what an open-borders America might mean for the state of Israel?
In a Gallup poll taken during last year’s Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 49-day military campaign against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Americans were shown once again to be widely supportive of Israel and its defense forces. But “scratch the surface,” says anti-Zionist writer Philip Weiss in an article about the poll, and you find that support for Israel in America is actually highly fragmented and runs along racial lines.
According to Weiss’s analysis, the “wide support” in America is chiefly made up of American whites, with a breakdown of the poll showing they back Israel at double the rate as nonwhites. The largest support base also came from those aged 65 and up, a group disproportionately made up of white Americans. Because of this, says the anti-Israel Weiss, he is “pining for the majority-non-white nation.”
Noting that Republicans by a huge majority thought Israel was “justified” in its assault on Hamas, Weiss referred to the GOP as “Israel’s public firewall.” This raises the question: will this “firewall” of American support come down if people like Singer and Adelson, apparently staunch supporters of Israel, get their way on immigration?
Weiss’s Gallup poll isn’t surprising. A 2011 poll covered by the Israeli press found that nearly 50 percent of Hispanics thought the “U.S. was too supportive of Israel.” The organization behind the poll stated that the results should be a “wake-up call” for Israel-supporters. That Hispanics are “relatively hostile” to Israel, according to another survey, is apparently lost on pro-amnesty Jewish organizations like Bend the Arc or the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). Like Singer and Adelson, they may need to start asking themselves just what they’re advocating and who they’re really advocating for.
These poll-findings aren’t surprising to those who understand Hispanic political views. Far from being “natural conservatives,” like many open-borders Republicans contend, according to some analysts, Hispanics have the highest illegitimacy rates in the country while their attitudes toward capitalism was found by Pew Research to be even less favourable than those who took part in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Hispanic perceptions of Israel may be a simple reflection of the countries they came from. America’s main immigration-source countries, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, have all recognized Palestinian statehood. Polls in other Hispanic countries, like Brazil, Chile and Argentina, show Israel to be less popular than North Korea and Iran. The same results show that even Kenya, India, and Russia, countries with huge Muslim populations and histories of poor Israeli-relations, are generally more supportive of Israel than most Latin American nations.
Some American Jews have responded to the “wake-up call.” Former American Jewish Congress director and senior analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Stuart Steinlight has warned open-borders Jewish groups that high Hispanic immigration will “erode Jewish political clout” in America. He says groups like HIAS, a major refugee-services contractor with the federal government, are fronted by “unelected, aging plutocrats” who are actually working against Jewish interests by “pushing to let in more and more Muslims.” Steinlight and CIS, however, are frequently made targets by the Anti-Defamation League, a group that’s both hugely supportive of amnesty and Israel — The group was apparently unfazed by a poll it conducted in 2002 showing that the levels of anti-Semitism in the U.S. was highest among Hispanics, triple the rate for whites.
Whether the Netanyahu administration watches these trends is unknown, but likely. Following Obama’s 2012 re-election, Michael Freund, a former communications director in the Netanyahu government, wrote an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post demanding that, due to the “changing face of America,” Israel must “launch a comprehensive and coordinated Hasbara, or public diplomacy, campaign that makes Israel’s case to Hispanics directly and ‘en Espanol.’”
Netanyahu’s hasbara, however, may not be enough. The anti-Israel, mostly campus-based, “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction” (BDS) movement has exploded in recent years. The cradle of the movement, as well as Palestinian-rights organizations in general, is California, a state that presages the demographic future for many parts of the country. Of the eight universities nationally that have passed pro-BDS resolutions, seven are in California. Groups like Students for Justice in Palestine have become such a force on UC campuses (where Hispanic freshmen recently overtook whites) that Board of Regents head Janet Napolitano recently came out to support an expanded definition of anti-Semitism in UC-speech codes to encompass anti-Israel advocacy. Campus activists, like the BDS crowd, are pacesetters and will go on to shape America’s future political landscape. Interestingly, President Obama’s “first act of political activism” was joining a BDS movement against South Africa while at California’s Occidental College in the 1980s.
“Reconquista,” or the idea that America’s southwest must be “taken back” by Mexico, has become increasingly enmeshed with the West Bank-annexation narrative by U.S. academics and campus activists. Long-time Reconquista-proponent, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), was an early endorser of the BDS movement for this reason. As anti-Zionist website Electronic Intifada explains in their report on “Two Walls, One Struggle,” an activism project initiated by the pro open-borders group, the American Friends Service Committee, “[a]s long as Latinos in the U.S. are subjected to racial profiling, the deportation of undocumented loved ones, and the effects of colonialism in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and in the southwest states, comparisons will be made between Latinos and Palestinians.”
When Netanyahu moved to deport children of guest-workers working in Israel, he defended his position by stating, “there are Zionist considerations to ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel.” For megadonors like Singer and Adelson, who no doubt sympathize on this point, it behooves them to appreciate there may be Zionist considerations to ensuring America’s historic character as well.